CALDWELL, McCORMICK AND SCHAEFER NAMED FIRST TEAM, HIGHLIGHT SEVEN SOFTBALL ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Seven members of the Sacramento State softball squad were named to the Pacific Coast Softball Conference’s all-Coastal Division team today, including three first teamers, two second teamers and two that were named honorable mention. The 12-team conference is split into two divisions (Coastal and Mountain), and the Hornets are among six teams in the Coastal Division.
Senior pitcher Megan Schaefer, sophomore third baseman Emily McCormick and freshman second baseman Devin Caldwell were each named to the first team while Caldwell received the division’s freshman of the year award. A Sacramento State player has now received freshman of the year accolades three straight years. Schaefer received first team honors for the second time of her career, and McCormick was named to the first team after being placed on the second team a year ago as a freshman.
On the second team for Sacramento State were junior first baseman Alyssa Nakken and freshman left fielder Shannon Kaufman. Junior pitcher Shelby Voelz and freshman pitcher Taylor Stroud were both named honorable mention. Three of the Hornets’ four pitchers (Schaefer, Voelz and Stroud) received some form of all-conference accolade as Sacramento State was the only team in the division with more than two pitchers receiving all-conference honors.
Among the Hornets’ seven selections, four were underclassmen, including three freshmen and one sophomore. Sacramento State completed a 2011 season in which the team started at least six underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) in every game. In fact, the Hornets will return every positional starter from a squad that went 20-24 overall and 12-8 in the conference.
Schaefer was named to the first team for the second time (2009, 2011) after receiving second team honors last season. Despite battling a wrist injury all year, Schaefer finished the season with a 7-6 record and a 2.16 ERA. In 18 starts, she issued just 28 walks in 90.2 innings. Against conference competition, Schaefer was dominant, posting a 3-0 record with a 1.02 ERA in seven appearances. In 41.0 innings vs. PCSC teams, she allowed just six earned runs and four extra base hits (two doubles and two home runs). Of her 19 appearances this season, she allowed more than three earned runs on just two occasions. Throw out those two rough outings (against Fresno State and Stanford), and she would have finished the year with a 1.42 ERA. Among Sacramento State Div. I career leaders (1990-pres.), the Tigard, Ore., native finished her career ranked fifth in games started in the circle (76), tied for fifth in wins (37), sixth in innings pitched (461.0), eighth in strikeouts (236) and ninth in complete games (36).
Caldwell hit a team-high .328 while starting all but one game at second base. She committed just five errors all season (.967 fielding percentage) and her 12 multiple-hit games tied for a team lead. The Napa, Calif., native improved her numbers against conference teams, posting a .411 batting average which was the fourth best mark in the Coastal Division. In fact, over her final 16 games of the season, Caldwell hit .458 with five doubles, seven RBIs and seven multiple-hit games during that span. One of the team’s best clutch hitters, she led all Hornet regulars in average with runners in scoring position (.388), average with two outs (.341) and average with runners on base (.328).
McCormick started all but two games at third base, and posted team highs in home runs (6), RBIs (25), slugging percentage (.527) and total bases (69). In conference play, she averaged one home run every 12.2 at-bats, and ranked among the conference’s top 10 players in total bases, slugging percentage and home runs. The Hesperia, Calif., native hit .313 overall and .311 against conference competition. A team-best 15 of her 25 RBIs came with two outs, and her eight multiple-RBI games were three more than any other Sacramento State player. She had three hitting streaks of at least five games long, and hit four home runs over the final seven games of the year. A career .326 hitter, McCormick’s 12 career home runs are already tied for the third most in Sacramento State’s Div. I history.
Nakken was the only Sacramento State player to start all 44 games, with each of those starts coming at first base. The Woodland, Calif., native batted .290 while leading the team in runs (24), doubles (10) and on-base percentage (.388). Nakken was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts, and had a team-high .989 fielding percentage committing just four errors in 360 total chances. She hit .316 against conference competition and had a monster final weekend of the season against Cal State Bakersfield where she batted .727 (8-for-11) with four runs, two doubles, a home run and nine RBIs over four games. Nakken reached base safely via hit or walk in all but seven games, and has now started 118 consecutive games dating back to her freshman season.
A left-handed slap hitter, Kaufman started 42 of 44 games, including 38 starts in left field and four in center field. The Agoura Hills, Calif., native hit .317 while leading the Hornets in at-bats (142) and hits (45), and tying for the team lead with 12 multiple-hit games. Kaufman had three hitting streaks of at least five games long, including an eight gamer from April 9-17. She hit safely in 17 of 20 games against conference opponents, and batted .366 against the league. Kaufman stole six bases and committed just one error in 53 chances, good for a .981 fielding percentage.
Voelz went 5-4 with two saves and a 2.78 ERA in the circle, including a 5-2 mark and a 2.79 ERA against PCSC competition. A first team all-league choice last season, Voelz missed nine games during the middle of the season with a concussion. Opponents hit just .250 off Voelz and she struck out 49 batters in 60.1 innings. The majority of her appearances came in relief as she had 19 appearances, including five starts, two complete games and was part of a combined no-hitter with Schaefer against Saint Mary’s. The Vancover, Wash., native has now improved her ERA all three years of her career, from 3.62 as a freshman to 2.98 as a sophomore and 2.78 this season.
Stroud put together one of the more impressive freshman pitching campaigns in Sacramento State history. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native posted an 8-11 record with a 2.52 ERA. She led the Hornets in appearances (25), starts (17), complete games (12), shutouts (4), innings (130.2), opponents batting average (.248) and strikeouts (67). She walked just batter every 4.2 innings, and her no-hitter against San Diego on April 9 was the first by a Hornet pitcher since 2006. Among her four shutouts included a three-hitter against Pacific and two-hitters against both Loyola Marymount and Utah State. She also had a relief appearance against ninth-ranked Cal where she allowed two hits and no runs in five innings.